The Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority (WHPHA) is one of the many Provincial Health Authorities in the country that has benefited from more than 600,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) donated by UNICEF.
The Authority received its share on 13th August and started distributing them to the various health facilities in the province including Mt Hagen Hospital which has been selected and prepared to screen, test and swab persons of interest (POIs) for Covid-19.
The PPE which arrived in 25 boxes included 10,800 hand gloves, 13,450 surgical masks, 6,060 N95 masks, 1200 protective goggles, 1,560 face shields, 744 gowns, 300 coveralls, 200 shoe covers and 200 caps.
Prior to the distribution of the PPE to the selected rural health facilities, staff who would be directly involved in the screening and swabbing of the POIs were brought to Mt Hagen Hospital and put through intensive training on the proper ways of screening, swabbing and donning and doffing of their PPE.
An average of three clinicians each including nurses, community health workers and health extension officers from Tinsley District Hospital, Kotna, Bukapena, Togoba, Tambul and Pabrabuk Health Centres and the Susu Mamas Urban Clinic in Mt Hagen City were brought in and trained.
The distribution of the PPEs throughout the country is being supported by the World Bank as part of its US$20 million emergency package for the PNG Government’s Covid-19 response.
The support also includes the setting up of a container-based testing laboratory in Port Moresby as well as support for faster Covid-19 testing.
Chief Executive Officer for WHPHA, Mr David Vorst on behalf of the staff and people of Western Highlands has expressed his heart-felt gratitude and appreciation to UNICEF and the World Bank for donating and facilitating the delivery of the PPE.
He said clinicians being the frontline workers in the fight against Covid-19 were vulnerable to the pandemic and having more PPE would enable them to change regularly and avoid contracting the virus.